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Chocolate Souffle

Courtesy of David Lebovitz from l’appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home

About the following recipe, David says, “Chocolate souffle remains one of my all-time favorite desserts, and even though I now have a variety of porcelain souffle molds in my kitchen here in Paris, I prefer to bake a chocolate souffle in a shallow baking dish. Some can barely wait to get past the crust, to dive into the warm, tender pool of dark chocolate underneath, but I like the fragile, cocoa-colored crust just as much as what hides beneath it. It’s a balance between the tough, and the tender, and one rarely exists without the other….Although I have my share of regrets, using good chocolate to make a souffle is never one of them.”

In making this recipe, I concur that David’s correct in saying that it gets better 10 minutes after removing it from the oven, as the center becomes more mousse-like. And…it is very good for breakfast!

David also recommends that the souffle is served with vanilla or coffee ice cream or an icy-cold Creme Anglaise. Here’s his recipe for Creme Anglaise.

Chocolate Souffle
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes, plus more for the baking dish
  2. 8 ounces (225g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  3. 3 tablespoons strong coffee or espresso (or water)
  4. 1/3 cup (45g) cornstarch
  5. 2 cups (500ml) whole milk
  6. 5 large egg yolks
  7. 6 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  8. Generous pinch of salt
  9. 7 egg whites, at room temperature
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional*
Instructions
  1. Butter a shallow 2-quart (2-l) baking dish
  2. Set a large bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Melt the butter in the bowl. Add the chocolate and coffee and stir gently until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup (60ml) of the cold milk until the cornstarch has dissolved. Add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine the 1-3/4 cups (420ml) milk, t tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt and heat over medium-high heat until the mixture is warm.While stirring continuously with a whisk, gradually pour the milk mixture into the yolks. Scrape the milk and warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring continuously with the whisk, until the mixture comes to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat slightly and continue to stir with a whisk until thick and shiny, 15 to 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and scrape the mixture into the bowl of melted chocolate; stir until smooth. Let sit until it's just slightly warm. Add vanilla extract if using.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190C) with a rack in the center position.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk, or by hand in a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and when the egg whites start holding their shape, whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar,1 tablespoon at a time.
  8. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until no streaks of whites are visible. Transfer the souffle to the prepared baking dish and bake until the top just feels set when you touch it in the center, about 25 minutes. Most souffle aficionados like theirs on the less-cooked side. Avoid opening the oven while the souffle is baking, so begin checking it closer to when it should be done.
  9. Serve portions of the souffle on plates, making sure everyone gets some of the nice crust along with the moist interior, with a scoop of vanilla or coffee ice cream, or very cold creme anglaise. Although chocolate souffle is traditionally served hot from the oven, after it cools for 10 minutes it settles into a moist, warm mousse-like dessert. It's also not bad the next day, at room temperature -- for breakfast.
Notes
  1. David does not include vanilla in this recipe. Given I'm the VQ, I've added it. Hopefully David would approve.
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Patricia Rain
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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.
Patricia Rain
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